An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 5, 2010
Issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES

Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes -- I mean the universe -- but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written.

That's what Galileo thought, I read, and it tickled me because that's exactly my insight, too. I assume that the language he's referring to is Nature's paradigms, and his symbols are the interacting and interdependent things of Nature -- its flowers, bugs, crystals and giraffes. But then I read the next sentence:

This book is written in the mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it...

So, Galileo had a concept different from mine, his focus not flowers, bugs, crystals and giraffes but geometry.

In the same book I find that Pythagoras long before Galileo also believed in the great book open before our eyes -- but he was thinking neither of geometry nor giraffes, but rather numbers. Having discovered that musical tones could be understood in terms of mathematical ratios, he intuited that the whole cosmos must be a vast harmonic system of ratios, and when he thought about it he said that he could hear the music of the spheres.

So, here we have three approaches to "reading the Nature Bible" -- Galileo with his geometry, Pythagoras with his ratios, and me with my natural paradigms. Moreover, we all think we've come upon something grand, something transcendent, and so beautiful that when we reflect on what we're beholding, we think in terms of spirituality.

From this situation at least three insights can be derived:

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